Exe SC sailor Victoria Upotn set to sail off Brittany in July

10:20 05 June 2014

Victoria Upton (helm) and Annabel Dewing (crew) on day one of the RS Feva National Championship at WPNSA

Victoria Upton (helm) and Annabel Dewing (crew) on day one of the RS Feva National Championship at WPNSA

Peter Newton

Victoria Upton of Exe Sailing Club with crew, Annabel Dewing of Royal Dart Yacht Club, competed in The Sekonda RS Feva XL National Championships.

The three-day event ran from Sunday, May 25 through to Tuesday, May 27 and it all followed venue familiarisation and practice races on the first Saturday of the half-term break.

The championship was won by Harvey Martin (Ogston SC) and his crew of Bobby Hewitt (Leigh and Lowton SC).

The first day of the championships saw 98 of 101 competing boats split into four flights competing in a qualifying ‘round robin’ series to identify who would compete their final series in either the gold or silver fleet.

With two of three races to count, the Exmouth girls posted a 28th and 25th and looked in a strong position as they cleared the leeward gate in 12th position heading for the finish in their final qualifier.

Sadly, the spinnaker downhaul got wrapped on the bowsprit as they went for the drop - eventually crossing the line in 27th. Disappointed, as consigned to the silver fleet by a couple of points, they made the best of it in the final series.

Day two, with very little wind brought a different challenge. After a postponement ashore waiting for the faintest of breezes to satisfy the four knots required for racing, the fleet launched, hopeful of getting two or three results in the bag.

Hours later and with no shortage of effort on the part of the race officer, gold fleet had completed two further races and sliver fleet just the one.

The fleet launched early on the final day and were afloat for a full eight hours with the race officer James Gollop keen to get all scheduled races completed.

With very shifty winds from NNW to WSW and back, plus at times no wind at all, the preparatory signal for all races was the black flag.

Competitors in both fleets experienced several postponements, races abandoned and re-started, but some consistency for the last race of the championship. For Victoria and Annabel it proved to be their best as they posted a third.

Overall, Victoria and Annabel sailed seven races - so with just the one discard, finished ninth in the silver fleet and 60th overall. This was a great effort for this new partnership, experiencing their first competition and National Championship together. Their next big event is the Allen RS Feva World Championships in Carnac, Brittany at the end of July, where 185 entries are expected. Full results can be found at www.rsfeva.org.uk/results

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